Illustration results for unbelief
Dr. Larry Petton
I WILL GIVE YOU TWO APPLES
An atheist and a little boy in his neighborhood were talking one day about God, church and faith. Finally, the old neighbor said to the little boy, "Son, I don’t see how there could be a God in this world with all of the problems we have. I will give you an apple if you can prove to me that God exists!"
The little boy grinned and said, "Sir, I believe in God and I will give you TWO APPLES if you can prove that He doesn't exist!"
JOY IN THIS WORLD
Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:
Not in Unbelief -- Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born."
Not in Pleasure -- Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone."
Not in Money -- Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth."
Not in Position and Fame -- Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret."
Not in Military Glory -- Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."
Where then is real joy found? -- the answer is simple, in Christ alone.
The Bible Friend, Turning Point, May, 1993. http://www.eSermons.com
I read a recent magazine article about a pastor and his encounter with some unbelievers while having breakfast. Here is how he tells the story: “My wife and I were vacationing in Estes Park, Colorado, and had breakfast in a coffee shop. It was empty except for four men at another table. One was mocking Christianity; in particular, the resurrection of Christ. He went on and on about what a stupid teaching that was. I could feel the Lord asking me: ‘Are you going to let this go unchallenged?’ However I was thinking, But I don’t even know these guys. He’s bigger than me. He’s got cowboy boots on and looks tough. I was agitated and frightened about doing anything. But I knew I had to stand for Jesus. Finally, I told Susan to pray. I took my last drink of water and went over and challenged him. With probably a squeaky voice, I said, ‘I’ve been listening to you, and you don’t know what you’re talking about ’ I did my best to give him a flying rundown of the proofs for the resurrection. He was speechless, and I was half dead. I must have shaken for an hour after that. But I had to take a stand. We cannot remain anonymous in our faith forever. God has a way of flushing us out of our quiet little places, and when he does we must be ready to speak for him.”
Now I admire this pastor’s courage and his determination to be a witness, regardless of how difficult it was. A lot of Christians would have just sat there in fear or fumed, thinking about how terrible the things were that these men were saying. I realize that I have the opportunity of looking back with hindsight on the situation, but I wonder if there wasn’t another possible approach that may have been more positive, and perhaps had more impact, than rattling off a list of rational arguments for the resurrection. It seems to me that he missed the most important and impressive proof of the resurrection — his own life. I wonder if it would not have been more effective to walk over to the men at the table and say something like this: “You know, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, and found it very interesting. If you don’t mind, I would like to pay for all of your breakfasts. The reason I want to do this is that, because of the resurrection, Jesus Christ has changed my life and lives in me, and wants to communicate his tremendous love for you.”
Rational arguments do not change people, changed lives do. Changed lives change the lives of others, and thereby change the world. It is how we challenge the unbelief of a skeptical world. But not only would it possibly have been a stronger witness, it would have been an excellent use of money to buy their breakfasts. I think the point in what Jesus was saying in our Scripture reading this morning was that people are always the priority. Helping people, whether physically or spiritually, is to be given priority over serving ourselves — especially when it comes to money. But money is usually our last holdout in our walk with God. It is what we surrender last. As you grow in the Christian life you realize that it is not your money anyway. Everything you own already belongs to God. It is a gift, a loan from him.
“The opposite of joy is not sorrow. It is unbelief “ ...
Sermon Central Staff
THE EEYORE SYNDROME
In the past I have spoken of what I call, "The Eeyore Syndrome"--these are Christians who walk around acting like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. They choose to look at the gloomy side of life. Their eyes are cast down, their countenance is cheerless, and they have no enthusiasm or anticipation for life.
Joyful people cannot have The Eeyore Syndrome. The Eeyore Syndrome is not a Fruit of the Spirit. The Eeyore Syndrome is not a realistic view of life nor faith-filled.
William Ward writes words about discouragement that can apply to the Eeyore Syndrome. He says, "Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God."
(SOURCE: William Ward. Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 18. From a sermon by Ken Pell, A Fruit-Full Marriage: Joy-full Love, 6/26/2011)
“Life is war. That’s not all it is. But it is always that. Our weakness in prayer is owing largely to our neglect of this truth. Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. God has given us prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world. Prayer gives us the significance of front-line forces, and gives God the glory of a limitless Provider. The one who gives the power gets the glory. Thus prayer safeguards the supremacy of God in missions while linking us with endless grace for every need.” (John Piper, “Let the Nations Be Glad”)
The Scottish preacher John McNeill liked to tell about an eagle that had been captured when it was quite young.
The farmer who snared the bird put a restraint on it so it couldn’t fly, and then he turned it loose to roam in the barnyard.
It wasn’t long till the eagle began to act like the chickens, scratching and pecking at the ground. This bird that once soared high in the heavens seemed satisfied to live the barnyard life of the lowly hen.
One day the farmer was visited by a shepherd, who lived in the mountains where the eagles lived.
Seeing the eagle, the shepherd said to the farmer, "What a shame to keep that bird hobbled here in your barnyard! Why don’t you let it go?"
The farmer agreed, so they cut off the restraint. But the eagle continued to wander around, scratching and pecking as before.
The shepherd picked it up and set it on a high stone wall. For the first time in months, the eagle saw the grand expanse of blue sky and the glowing sun. Then it spread its wings and with a leap soared off into a tremendous spiral flight, up and up and up.
At last it was acting like an eagle again.
My favorite story about the Holy Spirit is the story C.S. Lewis told about a college student who wrote to him. The young man was an atheist. And he was very concerned, because he had made friends with some Christian students. They were enthusiastically witnessing to him about Jesus, and it had shaken-up the young man's thinking. He was going through some great struggles about Christianity, and he wanted to know, "What did Dr. Lewis think?"
C. S. Lewis wrote back, "I think you are already in the meshes of the net. The Holy Spirit is after you. I doubt you will get away." (1)
God's Holy Spirit is in the world today -- seeking for us, trying to teach us about the eternal, abundant life that only Jesus can give. That young college student who was in the meshes of the Holy Spirit's net did get saved. His name was Sheldon Vanauken and here is what he wrote about that day:
"I couldn't reject Christ. There was only one thing to do. I turned and flung myself over the gap toward Christ. On a morning with spring in the air, March 29th, I wrote in my notebook: 'I choose to believe in the Father, Son & Holy Ghost. In Christ, my Lord and my God. Christianity has the ring, the feel of unique truth. Essential truth. By it, life is made full instead of empty, meaningful instead of meaningless. I confess my doubts and ask my Lord Christ to enter my life. I do not know God. I do but say: Be it unto me according to Thy will. I do not affirm that I am without doubt. I do but ask for help, having chosen, to overcome it. I do but say: Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief.'" (2)
And God did -- by His Holy Spirit. Yes there is an unforgivable sin, One and only one unforgivable sin: ...
Os Guiness gives a very helpful definition of doubt in his book In Two Minds. He says, "When you believe, you are in one mind and accept something as true. Unbelief is to be of one mind and reject that something is true. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at the same time, and so to be in ’two minds.’" That is what James calls, in Chapter 1, a "double minded man," or as the Chinese say, "Doubt is standing in two boats, with one foot in each."
R. David Reynolds
James S. Hewett, former pastor of Saratoga, California’s Presbyterian Church, tells this story: “A class of high school sophomores had been assigned a term paper. Now the day of reckoning had come, the papers were due. The teacher knew that a particular student, named Gene, had not been working steadily on his paper as others had in the class. He was prepared for some sort of excuse. When the teacher went to collect the papers, Gene said, ‘My dog ate it.’ The teacher, who had heard them all, gave Gene a hard stare of unbelief. But Gene insisted and persisted, ‘It’s true. I had to force him, but he ate it.’” [SOURCE: --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1988), p. 182.